We all have “tics,” little things that we do, little habits. Some presentation trainers tell people to get rid of their tics, but tics aren’t always that bad.

Take, for example, Bob Dole. Bob Dole was a famous United States Senator in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s.

He fought in World War II. During the war he hurt his right hand, and it never healed completely. For the rest of his life, he couldn’t use the hand much. He felt a little self-conscious about it, and so, in public, he almost always held a pen:

No one says, “That Bob Dole, he could have been great, but he held a pen all the time.” To be a great speaker, or a great leader, you don’t have to be perfect. Don’t spend so much energy trying to get rid of all your tics that you forget to spend your energy where it’s needed most: connecting with your people.

Be aware of your tics, and yes, get rid of the worst ones. But your job is not to be perfect. It’s to connect with your people, to connect with your audience. Tics are only a problem when they interfere with that connection.


About Matt Krause

Matt began his professional life as an import buyer, and since 2006 has been teaching companies how to connect with their investors and clients better. His clients work in Istanbul, London, and Madrid for companies like Allianz, 3M, P&G, Citibank, and Reckitt Benckiser. He also walked across Turkey and wrote a book about it.